Floridians among the cheapest tippers in the U.S., data shows

Data: Toast; Map: Axios Visuals

Don't forget to tip, seriously.

By the numbers: With an average tip of 18.3%, Florida ranked 48th out of 50 states when it came to the average tipping percentage in the last quarter of 2022, according to data from Toast.

St. Pete activists keep banned books stocked

Illustration of a stack of books with barbed wire wrapped around them.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" will no longer be on Pinellas County school shelves, but it's popping up on library shelves around St. Pete.

What's happening: Literacy advocates and St. Pete residents are stocking the book and others challenged by the state with hopes to keep the stories accessible for students.

Tampa's Synapse Summit boosts Florida tech startups

Illustration of a brain turning into a computerized image of a brain with two sparks moving around it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Thousands of tech innovators and entrepreneurs connected at Tampa's Synapse Summit last week, and a few Florida startups walked away with some big investments.

The big picture: As Chat GPT and generative AI drive much of the news cycle, artificial intelligence was also the center of much of the conversation at the tech conference last Tuesday.

Ben Montgomery
Feb 6, 2023 - News

Florida Supreme Court to consider recreational marijuana amendment

Data: DISA; Chart: Axios Visuals

A voter-backed amendment to allow recreational marijuana use in Florida is a step closer to being on our 2024 ballot.

Driving the news: Late last week, Smart and Safe Florida, the political committee behind the amendment, submitted 294,046 valid petition signatures to the state's Division of Elections.

Investors take the bait at Tampa Tank pitch competition

Investors on a stage listening to a presentation from Tamir Sapir

Tamar Sapir (right) pitches Tappt Health to the Tampa Tank investors on stage at Disrupt the Bay. Photo: Selene San Felice/Axios

Florida startups dipped their toes into the "Shark Tank" waters over the weekend.

Driving the news: Five businesses from across the state competed in a Tampa Tank pitch competition, vying to wow investors at the Disrupt the Bay conference and potentially raise money.

Ben Montgomery
Feb 3, 2023 - Sports

University of South Florida tennis teams to train with VR technology

A female uses virtual reality headset and raquet to practice tennis.

USF assistant coach Vanja Klaric tries Sense Arena's new technology. Photo: Courtesy USF Athletics

How about a tennis match in the metaverse?

What's happening: The University of South Florida men's and women's tennis teams have partnered with sports virtual reality company Sense Arena to use VR tools to supplement IRL training.

Making the deal with Progressive Dental's Bart Knellinger

Photo illustration of a briefcase with a photo of Bart Knellinger in it.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Courtesy of Omni Public

Bart Knellinger's business began as a simple favor. What started as trying to help his dad, a dentist, advertise his new surgical laser services in the early 2000s turned into a multi-million dollar dental marketing firm.

Fast forward: His Clearwater-based company, Progressive Dental, is projected to reach $70 million in revenue this year.

St. Pete women's mental health company LunaJoy closes big seed round

Illustration of young seated woman with her head in her hands and a scribble bubble above her head

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Sisters-in-law Sipra Laddha and Shama Rathi understood the challenges of America's mental health system as psychiatrists.

  • But after both having children and experiencing postpartum depression, they realized that to fill some of women's biggest health care gaps, they needed to get into tech.
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